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compelling but incomplete

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paris the luminous years....or as it is really paris the post impressionists and beyond. i'm not sure why that is. maybe we have to take the subtitle more seriously "toward the making of the modern"

the box, as always, suggests so much. what is actually in the film is certainly more finite.

there is some mention of the "godfathers", the "mentors" as it is. no where near a complete list nor much effective mention. in fact, early in the documentary we are told that the group here in the "luminous years" came to paris because these other forefathers had already established it as a place for artist to be. what? wait, did i miss something? are we going to get "paris the luminous years, the prequel" at some point? what a huge mistake.

i understand they didn't want to focus on the standard stuff, but it still seems like the story is missing these elements.

to be fair, the documentary does enlighten the view on some of the characters of the paris art scene during these furtive years that it remained at the center of the art world. more uniquely, they interweave the connections between artists, poets, dance, etc. in particular they seem interested in the connection of artists and poets. it is very interesting and well told through these parts. on the other hand, its clear we are not getting the whole picture of things. to believe this narrative we'd have to ignore everything else outside of paris. to do so there are blatant instances where knowledge is ignored to make the point. for example, they mention paul strand thinly disguised as another artist who "came to paris where all the artists came". they fail to mention that by the time strand made it to paris his most famously notable work had already been done, published and highly known. likewise, in a segment on dada, they completely ignore the presence of salvador dali in the main photo they show for the group. dali isn't of course known as a dadaist as much as he is a surrealist, nor is he generally known as a painter who studied in paris, though he did and was influenced by picasso and miro. nevertheless its an odd omission.

at the beginning there is an odd attempt to characteristic this time and these people as something particular. the point at which they refer to the "luminous years" is obviously forced. you won't hear the term or the attempt again till the very end, where once again it stumbles and is awkward. its pretty clear someone is trying to coin a phrase in the same way impressionism and post-impressionism is simply a make-believe moniker. they're not convincing.

we're also left at a point where the art world makes some dramatic changes. from moving the center to NY, to the rise of abstract expressionism; the film here stops and feels like it desperately needs a part II. "paris the luminous years part II; not paris at all...."

its a good film, worth watching. not my favorite. especially dubious is the interviews, which are slotted in to fortify the authenticity of the data, but are severely lacking. too few and uniquely dissimilar to everything else here.

expected better i guess.


Added by shawn tomorrow
5 years ago on 14 August 2012 06:31

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